The Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) Program is a state initiative to provide resources to local fire departments to conduct fire and life safety education programs in grades K-12. The mission is to enable students to recognize the dangers of fire and more specifically the fire hazards tobacco products pose.
Key Fire Safety Behaviors
There are 23 Key Fire Safety Behaviors which are taught in age and developmentally appropriate ways, such as:
- Stop, Drop, and Roll
- Making and Practicing Home Escape Plans
- Reporting Fires and Emergencies
- 911 Education
- Crawl Low Under Smoke
- Smoke Detector Maintenance
- Kitchen Safety
- Holiday Safety
- Candle Safety and more
Fire and life safety is easily combined with math, science, language arts, health, and physical education lessons. Integration into the existing curriculum topics is essential.
- Training children reduces anxiety levels so they are able to react to stressful situations
- Fire, School, Health and Police Departments working together to help children survive
- Family medical and health care cost reductions
- Firefighter as a role model
- Fires, burns and deaths reduced.
Since the program’s inception in 1995, more than 150 children throughout the Commonwealth who participated in the S.A.F.E. Program have saved themselves or a loved one, and were honored as Young Heroes by the Department of Fire Services. Some success stories are:
- A 12-year old boy blocks smoke by closing the door and covering cracks with a blanket to save four younger siblings.
- A girl leads her brother to safety by crawling low under smoke in the house to outdoors.
- A boy calls rescuers on 9-1-1 to save his sister from choking.
- Smoke detector awakens 7-year old who rouses the family and instructs them to “get out.”
- Family who rehearsed home escape plan as a homework assignment use it to get out alive.
How Is S.A.F.E. Funded?
The careless use and disposal of smoking materials is the single leading cause of fire deaths in the state and in the country.
Due to the tremendous risk of injury and death in fires started by tobacco products, the Legislature appropriated funding from monies raised through the cigarette sales tax.
Voters approved this tax to fund programs aimed at combating tobacco use.
How does the Department of Fire Services help?
DFS provides programmatic support to local S.A.F.E. Programs through in-service training, site visits and technical assistance. The Massachusetts Firefighting Academy provides training to fire educators. Fiscal Affairs manages the financial side of the grant applications.